Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña is reportedly in talks to star as Blue Beetle in the upcoming HBO Max and DC Films movie about the Latino superhero. Maridueña would play the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle, who has never appeared in a movie before. This will be the first DC Comics movie with a Latino lead character.
Angel Manuel Soto was hired to direct Blue Beetle, reports The Wrap. The Puerto Rican filmmaker previously directed Charm City Kings, which played at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was later released on HBO Max in October 2020. Mexican-born writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, who worked on Universal's Scarface remake and Sony's Miss Bala, was hired to write the Blue Beetle script.
After The Wrap published its report, Maridueña and Soto attended The Suicide Squad premiere. Soto and Warner Bros. executives told the actor he was in talks for the Blue Beetle role over dinner Sunday night. Production is expected to start early next year. John Rickard is producing for HBO Max and Zev Foreman is the executive producer.
Maridueña, 20, made his debut in Parenthood in 2012 as Victor Graham. He scored a breakthrough role as Miguel Diaz in the YouTube Red/Netflix series Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid follow-up series starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. In the show, Miguel is an Ecuadorian American teenager who lives near Zabka's Johnny Lawrence. Maridueña will play the role again in the upcoming fourth season, which debuts on Netflix later this year.
The Blue Beetle mantle has been taken up by three different characters since 1939. The first was Dan Garrett, a police officer who gained powers from experimental vitamins. When Fox Comics folded, Charlton Comics picked up the rights and turned Garrett into an archaeologist who got powers from an ancient Egyptian scarab. In 1966, Charlton introduced Ted Kord, who did not have superpowers but was instead a scientist who created technology to help him stop criminals. After Charlton went out of business, DC Comics picked up the publisher's characters. Additionally, Blue Beetle was the inspiration for Nite Owl in Alan Moore's Watchmen.
In 2006, DC introduced Jamie Reyes, who was created by Keith Griffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hammer. Jamie lives in El Paso, Texas, and found a mysterious scarab on his way home one day. The scarab bonded with Jamie, giving him access to strange weapons and powers. Since his introduction, Jamie has become a fan-favorite character, working with the Teen Titans and the Justice League. Jamie has been featured in the animated shows Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice: Invasion, DC Super Hero Girls, and Justice League Action.